Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Explorer of the Seas / 5 Night Bermuda Cruise (part 2)

Ship Activities: A cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean ship, particularly one the size of Explorer of the Seas, is like vacationing at an all-inclusive resort. There is so much to do that the fact that the ship actually stops at amazing ports is like getting an extra bonus! As usual there was more to do than we could possibly have time for! Pool games and contests were hilarious. The Men’s Belly Flop Competition always grosses me out a bit, but still makes me laugh. Once again I was unsuccessful in getting my husband to enter the Mr. Sexy Leg Contest. Truth is I think he’d jump overboard before even considering it!

I did go to the cooking demonstration to reconfirm that gourmet cooking is probably not worth all the effort, but gave all my attention to the towel animal folding demonstration. I played BINGO, learned new line dances, visited the spa, and also the gym (actually, I only looked in the gym…unfortunately I forgot my sneakers…again).

There were two parades, my favorite being the Island Frenzy Parade. Parades on a ship? How cool is that? We enjoyed the live music nightly in the Crown & Kettle Pub. How convenient that its located steps away from the delicious cookies, freshly baked at the Promenade Café! We hung out one evening at the Sports Bar where we watched our beloved Mets bury themselves a bit deeper. Still, it was a good time commiserating with our fellow guests. We were at the Dancing Under the Stars Pool Party. Good band, good food! I even spent time sharpening my putting skills on the mini golf course.

There were lots of trivia contests going on all week, crazy games, and lots of movies playing in the Screening Room. We didn’t have the time for any of it. Missed the rock climbing, inline skating, karaoke, and jewelry making. But that’s the great thing about this cruise. There are so many choices! So pick and choose and have the best vacation ever!

Bermuda: Mark Twain said, “You go to heaven if you want - I'd rather stay here in Bermuda.” If you have never been to this British territory, you should definitely put it on your “places to go” list. Pink tinted beaches, azure waters, gently swaying palm trees…this is paradise! On our cruise Bermuda transportation passes were sold at the shore excursion desk, but I don’t know if all ships do this. When you get off the ship, the Visitor Information & Transportation Ticket Booth is steps away. Bermuda transportation passes cost $12 for one day, and $20 for two days. No need to exchange currency here. Tip: The good thing is that the passes are also valid for bus and ferry service. Use it to crisscross the island taking in the sights by land and sea. The island is only 21 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, but there is plenty to see and do!

Cabs are readily available, but more expensive and unnecessary for a beach run. Tip: If you’d like to sightsee by cab, look for one that has a blue flag. These taxi drivers are also tour guides, licensed by the government, and are happy to give visitors informative tours. Tours generally cost $30 per hour for up to 4 passengers.

Our first day in Bermuda was our designated beach day and we headed for Horseshoe Bay (along with everyone else from the ship). We bought bus tokens (cost $20 r/t for three) because a day pass was more than we needed. Follow the sidewalk to the bus stop. When cruise ships are in town the busses are practically lined up, so they’re hard to miss! The #7 Express will take you directly to the beach. There are chairs and umbrellas for rent ($10 apiece) as well as showers and a snack bar. Tip: Get there early because when they run out of sand chairs they give you those plastic deck chairs…ugh! Life guards were on duty when we were there. Leave the mobs of people behind by walking to your far left to find a more secluded spot. Busses back to the Dockyard run about every 30 minutes.

The second day we were in Bermuda we took the ferry to Hamilton to see the sights and shop. The ride over was as much fun as the destination itself! Tip: There’s a glass bottom boat that leaves from a spot adjacent to where the ferry docks in Hamilton. Kids get to throw out food for the fish which causes a feeding frenzy! The colored coral reefs and an 18th Century shipwreck will have you in awe! A great trip!

Our five night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas out of Cape Liberty was nothing short of perfect! I love the fact that there was no flying involved, and when the cruise was over, it was a short drive home. A great ship with plenty to do round the clock, and two days in lovely Bermuda makes for a flawless combination!

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